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Summary

Brutal ex-convicts or the Nazi elite - in Bernie Gunther's world it's hard to tell who are the real gangsters. Hard-boiled noir thriller for fans of Raymond Chandler and John le Carré.

Ex-Berlin cop and private detective Bernie Gunther has seen his share of bad guys. But when the worst guys of all are the ones running the show, it's much harder to stay out of their reach.

Hired by a wealthy industrialist to investigate the murder of his daughter and her husband in an apparent botched robbery, Bernie soon finds himself drawn into the complex - not to mention lethal - internal politics and corruption of the Nazi party. When Hermann Goering himself calls Bernie in with a task for him that throws his existing case into a whole new light, he must weigh up his hatred of the Nazis against his desire to stay alive.

©2016 Thynker Limited (P)2021 Quercus Editions Limited

Critic reviews

"One of the greatest anti-heroes ever written." (Lee Child)

What listeners say about March Violets

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Keeble is the perfect choice!

While I applauded Philip Kerr for writing in different genres, I did find his output a bit bumpy and inconsistent at times. Where he did achieve consistency was in the titles featuring Bernie Gunther. Unfortunately, in previous years, that same consistency wasn't true of the audiobooks. They have been narrated by Andrew Sachs, John Lee, Paul Hecht and Jeff Harding with varying degrees of success. However, one book in and already Keeble is Bernie Gunther for me. He has the cigarettes and alcohol gruffness, plus that necessary 'sometimes laconic, sometimes intense' tone to do these novels justice. He doesn't try and pull off a raft of German accents and that's a good thing because - even if Keeble had them in his repetoire - the average English ear wouldn't be able to differentiate between, say, Berlinner, Austrian and Bavarian accents. They'd all sound the same to us.

4 people found this helpful

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Awful, miss match of narrator

Nothing ruins a talking book faster than a disastrous casting decision. The problem is main Character is German and the narrator has uses a fake British accent not a German accent, with awful results. I am sorry but Jonathan Keeble is not Bernie Gunther, Jeff Harding is a much better casting. I have read the whole Series so very disappointing.

3 people found this helpful

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Superbly written and read by the King

I’ll try anything that Keeble reads but I have a fascination about history and WW2.

It took a while to get in to but Bernie’s dry sense of humour pulled me in to this noir pre-war Berlin journey.

Really great read, and excellently read by the master.

2 people found this helpful

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The best war crime book I've read in a while.

The story is good and the narration brings it to life. The narrator substituted regional British accents for the German ones which is odd but works well.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent story and narration.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book. The narration is excellent, and the storyline is brilliant.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant book excellently read

Great book.

Keeble's reading is a great performance. Only minus is the pronunciation of the German words.

1 person found this helpful

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Great stuff!

Enthralling storyline, first class narration. All in all a fabulous audiobook. I highly recommend. Looking forward to book two.

1 person found this helpful

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"A silence born of shame."

Berlin in the preparations for the 1936 Olympic Games, and Bernhard Gunther, a private investigator specialising in finding missing persons, is hired by a steel multi-millionaire to find family diamonds stolen from the safe of his daughter when she and her husband were murdered, their bodies left to be consumed in the fire set to disguise the crime.
This is a fast paced, often brutal, noir detective story, first of the Bernie Gunter series. It is atmospheric with fine descriptions of even bit part protagonists, vividly forming visuals in the reader's mind's eye, with phrases such as a 'pickled walnut of a nose' and an old woman's foot being 'like a butcher's thumb in a thimble'. The language, like the action, can be crude and uncomfortable as Kerr summons up an impression of the period of change and violence.

Read by Jeff Harding, I was initially uncomfortable with the performance but within just a few pages he had become Bernie Gunther, also providing separate and convincing voices for the numerous other protagonists. It is an excellent performance, increasing the pleasure of an already irreverent, cynical and immersive book.

This has been my first encounter with Philip Kerr's Berlin noir detective series, recommended to me by my brother in law shortly before his death two years ago: his favourite author.

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not keen

I found it very hard to like or invest in the lead character Bernie. He was a misogynist " I didn't know whether to hit her or kiss her". improbable that a PI would ever be in a room with Himmler.

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Viewpoint

Not his best story.
He improves as he develops.I did not really enjoy it. Sorry.